Swaziland's proposed law on 'foreign love' is 'absurd, ridiculous' – activists

2018-06-20 11:25
King Mswati III

King Mswati III

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Activists in Swaziland have criticised a draft law that might force citizens to pay dearly if they want to marry a foreign national.

City Press reported over the weekend that the bill, which was still before parliament, stipulated that a Swazi citizen would have to part with 30 000 Swazi lilangeni (R29 900) to have their marriage to a foreigner registered with home affairs. This would be in addition to any payments of lobolo or dowry due to the in-laws.

The country's foreign affairs and international co-operation Minister Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze was quoted as saying that 30 000 lilangeni was nothing and was justified for those wanting to marry a foreigner.

Government allegedly intended to push the bill through as soon as King Mswati III dissolved Parliament late next month.

But in a statement, the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) has slammed the move, saying that the law would effectively ban Swazis from marrying people from other countries.

"This is not only unfair but amounts to king Mswati pimping his subjects as he stands to gain R30 000 for every marriage between a citizen and a foreigner. There is no justification for this ridiculous amount," said SSN.

SSN described the bill as "absurd".

"The only reason any government would table such a bill is to discourage marriage between its citizens and foreigners, which is absurd. Marriage is a personal matter between two consenting adults and no government has a right to dictate who its citizens should marry," said SSN.

It urged the country’s civic organisations to vocally oppose the bill and "see to it that never becomes law".

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